We celebrated Jack's ninth birthday tonight, with Nai Nai and Ye Ye and friends-who-are-family, burgers and hot dogs and gin and tonics and contests involving the slide we installed when we built the deck stairs. Not a bad way to spend an evening. The sunshine and hosting distracted me from having a nine-year-old, also the gin-fueled conversation in which I established myself as the most #NeverTrump who ever Nevered. (My poor in-laws. "We don't like him either! Leave us alone!")
But now it's 8:40 and I just tucked in a nine-year-old who is most of the way through Prisoner of Azkaban and DUDE, what was I doing nine years ago?!
(I suppose I could go back and look. Ha.) (No.)
This is what I remember from that first week.
Home, which was our bought-brand-new townhouse, with the room I painted yellow for the new baby. But at first he slept in the pack and play next to my side of the bed. He was not a pretty newborn, all skinny and spindly and alien-like, with long spider-leg fingers that flexed themselves in weird ways. He was barely 6 pounds and was the opposite of champion nurser. But because I like to get straight As in everything, I was desperately adhering to the lactation consultant's suggestion that we tube feed until the baby got stronger.
Tube feeding sucked. But I barely remember it, because the whole first few days of Jack's life is completely consumed by Speechless Baby Wonder.
I know, I know, could I BE more "cherish every moment" obnoxious? But each night I would pull that tiny skinny baby out of his bed and stick him next to me while we got ourselves ready to feed him and I'd just STARE. This baby - he was mine! Forever! I didn't have to give him back! He was a whole little PERSON and he belonged to ME and was this my life now?! HOLY CATS
I wasn't even tired, you guys. The alarm would go off - because OH YES we had to feed him on a schedule and wake him up, HELLO TINY TERRIBLE NURSER BABY - and I was HAPPY to wake up. I was DELIGHTED. I was not tired at ALL. Okay okay, maybe I was a little tired, but then I would remember all over again that there was this breathtaking newness in my life and it was time to stare and wonder over him again.
This is really all I remember from his first days home. Middle of the night amazement. Quiet staring. Alien baby finger weirdness. More staring. More amazement. More reminding myself that this tiny thing was mine.
Sometimes I feel terrible - well, every time, really - when I hear moms talk about their first weeks home with their first baby. How crazy and frightening and exhausting and the screaming and the PPD and all sorts of things that I didn't deal with. I had easy babies, for starters, and then I also really do think I have, like, the opposite of PPD. Horribly anxious DURING pregnancy, happy as a fool afterwards. So yeah, that accounts for a lot, probably.
But I cherish those middle of the night moments with brand new Jack, I really do, however crazy hormone fueled they were. They were amazing. They were perfect. They were unreal. He wasn't himself yet, you know? Or maybe I should say I didn't know him yet. And it was still all about me and this baby as an appendage of me. I hate to say it was like having a new toy, but it felt like having the newest best toy. I KNOW! I AM TERRIBLE!
I wonder if my blog would bear out these memories. I bet not. I bet I wrote evvvvvvery itty bitty detail I'm leaving out here. But I'm leaving them out because I don't remember that stuff. I know the staring happened, it was real, and that's what ended up being the important part of those days. The falling in love.
Forgive me, Internet. There are few online sins worse than telling everyone how you have cherished every moment. But I think you CAN cherish SOME moments? Even when you have a sterile tube taped to your boob and your husband is micromanaging how you're attempting to latch a six-pound baby at three in the morning...
This is just what nine-year-old Jack wants to read about himself, isn't it, but lucky for him this blog is not about him anymore. (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FIRST WONDER BABY.)